CA's plans to circumvent the county-mandated 16-step development approval process should not be allowed. During the lengthy downtown rezoning discussions residents argued long and hard for a process that would keep them informed of planned development in advance with opportunities to provide input into the process. This resulted in the county adopting the 16-step approval process.
CA pushed the original plan for Symphony Woods, which included some ground-level walkways with a few amenities on the north side of Merriweather Post Pavilion, through the first eight steps to achieve the Planning Board's approval. CA is now changing the plan to elevated walkways with numerous different amenities on the east side of MPP and claims it can just start with step nine to acquire the rest of the needed approvals.
If Howard Hughes pushed a project with mixed-use residential and small retail shops on one side of the mall through the first half of the approval process, and then switched to a much larger big box store development on a different side, residents would object to the loss of their oversight and input rights over what is essentially a new project.
CA should go back through the whole 16-step process. Letting CA circumvent it means any entity can circumvent it. Unfortunately the county appears ready to concur with CA and surrender our rights.
Joel H. Broida
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